Case Study 4 Skin Cancer

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Patricia Halicki Unit 4 Case Study 4: Skin Cancer October 15, 2014 The human MC1R gene encodes melanocortin 1 receptor, a protein found in the membranes of melanocytes. The human gene is orthologous to genes in other mammals that give rise to red coat color. For example, red hair in cattle, mice, guinea pig and horses are all due to variants in this gene. This all leads to the role that genes play in skin cancer. Skin cancer is a very dangerous and prevelant disease. It poses a risk to those who get it passed on genetically and also those who choose to not protect themselves from harmful UV exposure. There are many different types of skin cancers. They are named after the type of skin cell from which they arise. Basal cell cancer comes from the lowest layer of the epidermis, and is the most common but least dangerous skin cancer. Squamous cell cancer originates from the middle layer, and is less common but more likely to spread and, if untreated, become fatal. Melanoma, which originates in the melanocytes, is the least common, but most aggressive, most likely to spread and, if untreated, become fatal. In biology and genetics, the germline of a mature or developing individual is the line of germ cells that have genetic material that may be passed to a child. Gametes such as the sperm or the egg are part of the germline. So are the cells that divide to produce the gametes, called gametocytes, the cells that produce those, called gametogonia, and all the way back to the zygote, the cell from which the individual developed. A mutation in a recently discovered gene called BRAF, can play a part in causing many melanomas. This mutated gene is found in about half of all melanomas. Mutations can turn it on abnormally, leading to uncontrolled cell growth and cancer. Increasing understanding of the BRAF gene could lead to the development of new ways to diagnose

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